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Time for a website dust and polish?

Monday - 27 Aug - 2018

Time for a website dust and polish?

Gone are the days of publishing your corporate website and turning away to focus on other aspects of your business. Nowadays websites are a crucial part of a business’s operations; whether it is literally processing your sales, or operating as a lead-generation tool, or even just an information resource, visibility in the virtual world is considered crucial to the majority of business execs. 

Achieving this is much like the upkeep of real-world premises.  A shop/office or factory requires cleaning, maintenance, regular new window displays and/or updated signage to stay current, modern and in the customer’s mind.  In the virtual world your customer interface - aka your website - needs a comparable sort of commitment. It’s about the long haul, having a solid website infrastructure, good quality content that changes regularly and as many reputable backlinks to your site as possible to make your site as connected to world wide web as possible.  Quick scores rarely work these days and that’s the way Google likes it.  As at July 2018 Google Chrome still holds the lion’s share of browser use at close to 60% (with Safari being next closest at just 14%) and Google is putting much effort into its ability to analyse and assess web pages for quality content and the best user experience.

So how to improve your online presence and please the Google Gods? View your website as an ongoing project.  Plan to work on it regularly.  Break down the tasks into things you can achieve yourself and those you need to work on with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) experts and developers.  This strategy will keep your site fresh and up-to-date with current SERP (Search Engine Result Page) best practice - the Internet is fast moving and things change quickly.

Good website SEO is an involved area encompassing everything from the actual content on your site through to the technical infrastructure used when your developer built your site.  Here are some ideas and tools you can use to assess your website and start to make a plan on how to improve your SERP: 

  • Site speed - https://tools.pingdom.com/.  Amongst other things this handy tool gives you an idea about how large your webpage is, how fast it loads and how this compares to other tested sites. Fast load times is a major factor in good SEO.
     
  • Security certificate.  When you put your site name in the address bar does it show a grey ‘!’ in a circle? Or does the address bar say ‘Secure’ in green and show a locked padlock? Using a security certificate on websites used to only be necessary on pages doing e-commerce transactions.  Today a site’s security status is a ranking factor in Google’s site ranking, to the point browsers are giving users warning messages against navigating to unsecured sites - not a great start to inspiring credibility in a new customer’s mind!
  • Responsive design. How does your site cope with being displayed on different size screens, from desktop down to mobiles?  Check your site here to see if it is mobile friendly. The majority of Internet searches now happen on mobile and as of March this year Google rolled out mobile-first indexing.  This means that when Google indexes your site it looks first at the mobile version, making it really important your site works just as well on mobile as on desktop.

If your site struggled on any of these base-level tests, it’s time to put some work into modernising your website.  IT Basecamp offers two SEO options to suit both small businesses and large.

Small businesses on tight budgets can benefit from the ‘Website Audit’ package.  This one-off package puts you on the right track with your SEO. It assesses the current health of your website, provides you with a report detailing what your site’s strengths and weaknesses are, works with you to optimise the parts of your site most needing work and leaves you with an understanding of what work you need to do going forward to keep your site healthy.

Larger businesses with the resources to invest in SEO on an ongoing basis can make use of the full SEO package. This package includes the full website audit plus a suite of custom WordPress plugins to improve SEO, any minor design changes to your website required for improving SEO, monthly reports analysing your current month’s website health audit (and comparing these to your top three competitors), plus free web hosting for your website on IT Basecamp’s optimised WordPress servers (NGINX servers) for the duration of the SEO package.